A determined and exact performance saw Ashlee Ankudinoff prevail in the race against the clock, with the Menai cyclist executing her pre-race plan to perfection as she rode to gold in the weekends Australian final.
“ It’s been a few years since I won the individual pursuit and every year I come here hungry for it,” said St George cycling star Ankudinoff after claiming her second title in three years and seventh podium appearance since 2010.
16 women took to the line in the qualifying session with Ankudinoff (3:32.335) taking narrow bragging rights in the final over her Australian Cycling Team mate Amy Cure (3:32.690).
With the pair boasting five World Championships medals since 2012, the final promised, and delivered, a world class race. The margin between the pair stayed within three-tenths of a second for the first two kilometres, with Cure inching back to trail by two-tenths late in the race.
Anticipation loomed for a reply from the Tasmanian renowned for her strong finishes to the 3000m event, however Ankudinoff closed the gate over the final few laps to win by one second.
“I came into this race knowing I should ride my own race,” said Ankudinoff, who stopped the clock in 3mins 31.064secs ahead of Cure (3:31.972), exactly to pre race schedule and plan of racing the clock, not the competitor. “Amy rides a very different race to me and she like to start off slow and then build it up, I watched it in the heat against Nettie (Edmondson) and I’m a different style of rider.
“I like to go out do my own thing and just ask for my coach Mick to put me on a 31 schedule and I just rode off that. I knew it was very close and I gave it my all in the end.
“So to come up with just under a second in the lead was awesome.”
While Ankudinoff chased a green and gold jersey this week in Brisbane, she is also chasing a second Australian Commonwealth Games team selection with the depth from the Australian ranks making it a challenging proposition.
“I think there were 16 odd girls that racing this IP and the quality was so high, you’ve got six girls that can actually go really well at a World Championship so there’s a high calibre amongst us and I think it just pushes us to achieve,” said Ankudinoff, who was relieved the Nationals sat outside the selection period.
“It was good that this wasn’t a selection race,” she revealed. “All the girls have come here to have fun and to not have that pressure of selection is great.
Such is the depth of the Australian women’s endurance program, dual world and defending champion Bec Wiasak (ACT) was forced to the bronze medal ride where she took the win in a time of 3mins 34.616secs over Tasmania’s Georgia Baker (3:40.616).